The return of Novak Djokovic headlines the final ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the 2021 season in Paris this week.
World No. 1 Djokovic will be playing for the first time since seeing his Calendar Slam bid ended in the final of the US Open in September.
But, with all-important Race to Turin points on offer and plenty of other star names in action, Djokovic’s return is far from the only significant talking point in the French capital...
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Who will qualify for ATP Finals?

This week will likely be crucial in deciding who gets the last two spots at the ATP Finals in Turin, which start on November 14. Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner currently occupy seventh and eighth places in the Race to Turin standings, but Hubert Hurkacz and Cameron Norrie are not far behind, with just 230 points separating seventh-placed Ruud and 11th-placed Norrie (Rafael Nadal, who is currently nine in the standings, will not play due to injury).
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Aslan Karatsev also have a chance of qualifying if they have deep runs in Paris, where there will be 1,000 points on offer to the winner, 600 for the runner-up, 360 for the semi-finalists and 180 for the quarter-finalists.
With only an ATP 250 in Stockholm remaining before the ATP Finals, this is a big chance for those players looking to secure their place in Turin.
Indian Wells champion Norrie starts in Paris against Federico Delbonis but then has a tough path with Andrey Rublev and Djokovic in his quarter of the draw.

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Djokovic returns with record in sight

Djokovic has won on four of his last six appearances in Paris, but his preparation for the final Masters of the season has been far from normal.
While talk has continued to rumble on about whether Djokovic will play at the Australian Open in 2022, he hasn’t played a competitive match since losing to world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the final of the US Open almost two months ago.
He will finish off the year by playing singles and doubles in Paris, the ATP Finals and then the Davis Cup Finals with Serbia, before potentially turning his attention to Australia and a shot at a 21st Grand Slam title.
But there’s plenty at stake for Djokovic this week.
If he wins in Paris he will move one ahead of Rafael Nadal for the most Masters 1000 titles with 37, and he could also secure the year-end No. 1 ranking for a record-breaking seventh time. He is currently tied at the top of the all-time standings with Pete Sampras on six year-end No. 1 finishes, but can wrap things up with a deep run in Paris. A title win would ensure Djokovic the year-end No. 1 spot regardless of how Medvedev performs, while even making the final or semi-finals would be enough if Medvedev does not make the final.

Will Murray make his breakthrough?

The last few months have been dotted with encouragement for Andy Murray.
Since his battling five-set defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open he has earned notable wins over Ugo Humbert, Carlos Alcaraz, Frances Tiafoe and Hurckaz. He has also played more tennis in the second half of 2021 and looked fitter and sharper than he has done for a long time. But a deep run at a tournament continues to evade Murray.
Could that come in Paris, where he starts against American Jenson Brooksby before potentially facing ninth seed Auger-Aliassime?

Andy Murray à Vienne en 2021

Image credit: Getty Images

“I’m not going to keep losing in the second and third round of tournaments,” he said ahead of the event, which he won the last time he played in 2016.
“I will get better and I will improve and I will break through in one week or three weeks or a few months. If I continue on that path and build up a little bit more consistency, be that little bit more clinical and be a bit more ruthless I will start winning more and have some deep runs but it’s tough.
"Draws have been hard, I’ve played in some tough tournaments. There are no easy matches. But it will happen sooner rather than later I think.”

Zverev, Tsitsipas look for title run

Medvedev may have won the biggest title in the second half of the 2021 season, but Zverev has been the in-form player over the last few months.
The German has won 25 of his past 27 matches and clinched his fifth title of the year with victory over Tiafoe in Vienna on Sunday. If he can maintain his momentum this week and into the ATP Finals then Zverev has the chance to complete a very impressive season.
Only one player has more wins than Zverev’s 52 this year: Stefanos Tsitsipas.
But the world No. 3, who has 55 wins to his name in 2021, has seen his form dip over the summer. He was beaten in the third round at the US Open, suffered a surprise defeat in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells, and was beaten in his second match in Vienna last week. His comments that he is hoping to find a “killer attitude” in Paris suggest that he knows he needs something extra to take the next step.
Tsitsipas holds a 2-2 record in Paris and faces a tricky opener against either Lloyd Harris or Alex de Minaur.
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